CSP1101 - Conservation Biology of Freshwater Mussels

Course CodeCSP1101
Course TitleConservation Biology of Freshwater Mussels
This is an introductory course on the biology and ecology of freshwater mussels and the conservation issues facing this highly endangered group of animals. Topics to be covered include anatomy, physiology, life history, health, ecosystem services, mussels as biomonitors, conservation status, population impacts, conservation measures (relocation, propagation, conservation genetics), legal issues (permits and the ESA, Section 7 consultations, critical habitat) and field techniques (survey techniques, sampling techniques, habitat assessment). This course will address key characters for identification of freshwater mussels and will provide opportunities in the laboratory to practice with dichotomous keys, however due to time constraints and the regional nature of mussel assemblages; this is NOT a mussel identification course.


• recognize the key shell characters used in freshwater mussel identification
• identify the internal organs and soft tissue parts of a freshwater mussel
• describe suspension feeding, particle sorting, ingestion, digestion and assimilation in freshwater mussels
• describe locomotion, circulation, respiration, osmoregulation and excretion in freshwater mussels
• describe nervous and reproductive system function in freshwater mussels
• describe the life cycle of freshwater mussels
• discuss the various strategies used for larval attachment to the host fish
• describe the biotic and abiotic interactions that affect freshwater mussel populations
• list the ecosystem services that freshwater mussels provide
• list the impacts to freshwater mussel populations
• describe the conservation measures used to recover freshwater mussel populations
• discuss the genetic concerns with freshwater mussel conservation measures
• describe techniques for handling, marking, tagging and relocation
• discuss the basic steps in freshwater mussel culture, propagation and rearing
• identify the legal issues related to freshwater mussel conservation (permits, Section 7 consultations, designation of critical habitat)
• compare and contrast survey techniques used in large rivers and wadeable streams

Target Audience: Biologists who work with freshwater mussels in their daily work but have little or no formal knowledge of their biology, physiology and life history.

Delivery MethodInstructor Led
Non-FWS Fee$1,195.00
Instructional Hours36
Course Content ContactMatthew Patterson: matthew_patterson@fws.gov; (304) 876-7473; matthew_patterson@fws.gov
Curriculum CategoryAquatic Species Biology and Conservation
Course FrequencyOnce per year
Registration LinkLMS
College Credit NameSemester Hours
College Credit Value2
Extracted from DOI LEARN on1/19/2019 3:30:19 AM

Schedule:  CSP1101 - Conservation Biology of Freshwater Mussels